Hedgehog potatoes make a great part of Christmas brunch with turkey and mincemeat pie.

Hedgehog potatoes make a great part of Christmas brunch with turkey and mincemeat pie. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

 

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: These small potatoes are sliced crosswise like hard-boiled eggs, but without quite cutting them apart, so they fan out in a hot oven. Any egg-sized potato will do. For fat you can choose olive oil, butter or leftover drippings from a previous roast, if you have them.

20 to 24 egg-sized potatoes (about 4 to 5 pounds)

8 to 10 dried bay leaves, broken into large pieces

Large bunch fresh thyme

1/2 cup fat such as olive oil, butter or pan drippings

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the potatoes: Place a potato in a tablespoon and cut it into one-fourth-inch slices joined at the base (the spoon will prevent the knife from slicing all the way through). Open the slices just slightly and place a piece of bay leaf and a sprig of thyme inside the potato. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and place them in a roasting pan just large enough to hold them.

2. Drizzle the fat over the potatoes and season them with three-fourths teaspoon of salt and one-fourth teaspoon of pepper, or to taste. Place the pan on the stove top on medium-high heat and cook just until the fat begins to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Place the pan in the oven and roast the potatoes, basting them occasionally with the fat, until browned and crisp, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (The recipe can be prepared up to this point one day ahead; cool the potatoes slightly, then cover and refrigerate them overnight.)

4. To reheat the potatoes, warm in the roasting pan briefly on the stove top over medium-high heat, about 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a 375-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until thoroughly warmed.

Each of 8 servings: 312 calories; 5 grams protein; 44 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 239 mg. sodium.